Nabokov’s ‘Lolita’: What do we do with the art of monstrous men?

Junk Ensemble’s new production tells the ‘Lolita’ story from the young girl’s perspective

“We rarely hear Dolores’s voice. The story is written by a male writer and narrated by a male character, and they both deny her existence as a human, instead creating this fantasy being called ‘Lolita’”

“We rarely hear Dolores’s voice. The story is written by a male writer and narrated by a male character, and they both deny her existence as a human, instead creating this fantasy being called ‘Lolita’”

Dolores Hazes is not a famous literary character. But Lolita is. When Humbert Humbert, the child rapist narrator in Nabokov’s novel, imposes his nickname on 12-year-old Dolores, he dismisses her individuality and silences her as a person. When Nabokov entitles his novel Lolita, this suppression is magnified. A new performance installation by dance company Junk Ensemble, part of this year’s Dublin Dance Festival, will give voice to the silenced Dolores and rescue her story from Nabokov’s text.

“We rarely hear Dolores’s voice,” says Jessica Kennedy, who is artistic director of Junk Ensemble along with her twin sister Megan. “The story is written by a male writer and narrated by a male character, and they both deny her existence as a human, instead creating this fantasy being called ‘Lolita’. Humbert wants to remould her and rewrite her history. He wants to turn her into a woman but keep her as a child.”

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